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UK divorce statistics to keep you engaged in 2022

If you’re considering tying the knot in the near future and wonder what your prospects of a long and happy marriage are in 2022, then we’ve put together a useful compilation of some of the most up-to-date statistics.

Marriage and divorce in decline

Marriages between opposite-sex couples in England and Wales has been on a consistent decline since 1972. The number of opposite-sex marriages per thousand of the population has fallen from 82 to 20.1 for men, and 63.5 to 18.6 for women by 2018. Similarly, the number of divorces has also been steadily falling across England and Wales and the national average across all age groups and marriage duration currently stands at 33.3%. The average UK divorce age is 46.4 for men and 43.9 for women.

Same sex divorce rise 

In 2020, there were 103,592 divorces granted in England and Wales, a decrease of 4.5% compared with 2019. The majority were among opposite-sex couples (98.9%). Interestingly, for same sex couples, the figure rose year-on-year from 2019 to 2020, when there were 1,154 divorces among, a whopping increase of 40.4%. Of these, the majority were female same-sex divorces (71.3%).

Pandemic impact

One thing that should be acknowledged when considering recent data is the impact that Covid-19 may have had on the figures. It has been previously reported by The Ministry of Justice that family court activities were affected by the coronavirus pandemic during 2020. This included the temporary suspension of operations by some courts for a period of time, leading to an impact on the number of completed divorces in 2020, however, it will still be difficult to know the true extent of the effect for some time. Will there be an upsurge in the years to come?

Unreasonable behaviour

To date, unreasonable behaviour has been cited as the most common reason for divorce overall. It represented 47.4% of divorce petitions from wives among opposite-sex couples in 2020. For husbands, the most common reason for divorces was a two-year separation, accounting for 34.7% of divorces followed by 33.8% for unreasonable behaviour.

These stats are very likely to change in the next few years with the impact of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 that came into effect on April 6th, allowing ‘no fault’ divorces to be sought for the first time.

Marriage length

Of those who did divorce in 2020, the average (median) duration of opposite sex marriage at the time of the divorce was 11.9 years, representing a decrease from 12.4 years in 2019.

For same-sex divorces in 2020, the average (median) duration of marriage at the time of divorce was 4.7 years for female couples and 5.4 years for male couples. As divorces between same-sex couples have only been possible since 2015, following the introduction of same-sex marriages in March 2014, it will be some time before this figure becomes much representative as the years go by.

Things that discourage people from divorcing 

The fixed fee for a divorce in the UK is £593 and the whole process costs on average around £15,000, taking in legal costs and other expenses. It’s understandable that this may seem too financially costly for some. Another fact that can lead to reluctance is that, in some cases, your ex could claim money after a divorce.

A final statistic…

Perhaps the most important statistic to pay attention to is that the average marriage length in England and Wales is 32 years, so if you do decide to get married, the odds are that you will be together with your spouse for a long time to come.


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